Guidebook to Smolensk

Before visiting our city, we suggest that you think about your place of residence in Smolensk. The Smolensk diocese offers preferential accommodation in the hostel of the Katyn memorial complex or at a hotel in Smolensk State University. You can also contact the pilgrimage center of the diocese, where you will be offered the services of a guide. You can specify more detailed information about the required hotel by this phone: +7 (4812)-24-08-15

Prolog

At a time when capitals and other big cities are losing their historical appearance under the guise of monolithic buildings and becoming an international train station for business representatives, the provinces are the only ones that retain the traces of past eras. At the very edge of our state, as before, the old soldier guards his key to the heart of our country and his name is the hero city of Smolensk. When you come to visit him, you can listen to soldiers' tales from him, in which feelings of sorrow of pride for our ancestors divide the hearts of the listeners in half. Smolensk is a hospitable host and will not refuse you food and overnight, will show you the temples and monasteries, which more than once gave him spiritual strength in difficult years.

 In our city, you can plunge into the real cradle of time by visiting the witness churches of pre-Mongol Russia, walking along the Fortress wall, which boldly held the siege of the formidable Sigismund III, and later bowing to the soldiers of the Great Patriotic War at the numerous memorials of our city. The front-line stories of the brave soldier Vasily Terkin, who conducts his cheerful conversations with his creator Tvardovsky, will lighten and cheer up, and M.V. Isakovsky will be able to sing his famous Katyusha with you. Before you leave the station and go on a trip, you need to find out routes that may be useful to you.

All roads do not lead to Rome ...

Not far from the station is Kolkhoznaya Ploshchad (hereinafter - KP), in the form of which the architecture of the 18th century is visible, market elements characteristic of the “zero” years of the beginning of this century and of course, modern shopping centers of the new era. One of the most popular places in the city is the Galaxy shopping center, where you can find not only many shops, but also entertainment areas for children. There is also the opportunity to eat or drink coffee to your taste before setting off on a long journey along the roads of the Smolensk region. Walking from the train station to the KP, you can visit one of the oldest temples of the city, Peter and Paul’s Church , which was built in 1146 year. KP, in addition to the inconspicuous name, has its pluses, and the main plus is that you can go from here to almost anywhere in the city. But while we are still here, it is important to note that branded cafes are located on the territory of KP, where you can have a cheap meal.

Ferry - ferry!

Left bank, right bank.

Of course, the main direction of the trip in any city will be a trip to the center. You can get from the CP to the center by many minibuses (9, 27.17, 46, 35 ...), regardless of the chosen number, you will reach Victory Square or, as Smolensk ultra-conservatives say, Smirnov Square. Upon reaching the square, you will see the retired cinema "October" - one of the landmarks of the city, where people make an appointment for each other. A few steps from the cinema is the ethnographic museum “Russian Antiquity” (6 Tenisheva St.), founded by the famous philanthropist Maria Klavdievna Tenisheva.

There is also a bastion nearby, which was a defensive wall to defend the city from Napoleon’s army, where he found his death General Guden, whose remains were found in the summer of 2019. Near the bastion it is easy to find a place where you can drink coffee, and if you look at the schedule in advance, you can also get to some event. This place is called "Headquarters" (st. Marshal Zhukov, 9) and has recently been one of the cult centers for gathering urban youth. The headquarters holds poetry evenings, “brain slaughterhouses” and other interesting events.

Not far from the Oktyabr cinema, Mikhail Osipovich Mikeshin, a famous Russian sculptor, looks at trams passing by. His work is still an adornment of cities such as Rostov-on-Don, St. Petersburg, Kiev, and his most famous creation, with its architectural chime, sings the history of the Fatherland in Veliky Novgorod. The bell-shaped monument “The Millennium of the Russian State” is called “to inform the descendants of the heroic past of Russia,” but few people know that there are two such monuments. Yes, exactly two!

< p class = "margbot10"> The voice of the second bell pleases its creator, who also watches how generations of Smolyan follow each other at the tram stop, because a copy of the monument “Millennium of the Russian State” is one of the most important elements of the monument to Mikhail Osipovich Mikeshin. The size of the copy is 25 times smaller than the original, located in Novgorod, and sometimes not every one passing by the monument to the architect can make out his main creation next to it. But, since you now know where the ringing that you hear comes from, the little bell will serve as the evangelist of great Russian history and those who do everything possible to make this evangelization as loud as possible.

Having crossed the underpass near the Oktyabr movie theater, in a small cozy park you will see the aforementioned duet of the writer and character. Vasily Terkin and Alexander Trofimovich conduct their warm friendly dialogue and will gladly welcome you to their company. The monument “Terkin and Tvardovsky” is made in a lively style, and front-line photography with experienced fighters will be able to decorate your photo album of Smolensk memories.

Food nearby: cafe-pizza "Domino" (ave. Gagarina, 1, mn "UNONA")

Phoenix City

When you decide to continue your acquaintance with the city, the war veterans will no doubt offer you an interesting route that will reveal the heraldic image of Smolensk, the image of the Phoenix. Having passed through the arch near the park, you will come to "Heroes' Square" , which is adjacent to the Fortress wall and is one of the most significant places of the city in the history of his memory. Here you will find a museum of the Great Patriotic War, where in the courtyard you can see samples of Soviet military equipment. And opposite the museum itself there is an unusually beautiful monument “Grateful Russia - to the heroes of 1812”. The monument is dedicated to the Patriotic War with the French, a high pedestal depicts a soldier trying to get to the eagle's nest, where courageous birds are desperately protecting their brainchild. The fact that the museum and the monument are nearby only recalls the borderline fate of the Smolensk region. This role has repeatedly brought glory and grief to the Smolensk land. During the Napoleonic invasion, our city found itself in the artillery encirclement of the French army, and in the process of powerful shelling in the city from the apple trees it was possible to pluck the already baked fruit. Then Smolensk managed to stop Napoleon’s advance on Moscow, and most importantly managed to achieve the unification of two Russian armies with a further retreat inland. Before that, the city had not known the fire of war on its land for almost 150 years. It took time for Smolensk to rise from the ashes, but this update by fire secured her the status of the Phoenix. The Nazi occupation that came in 1941 left almost nothing from Smolensk, and many experts believed that the city would need more than a hundred years to fully recover, but even here the city spread its fiery wings. Thanks to the labors of Smolyan, restoration took place in five years. At the end of the alley, in memory of the fallen soldiers, the flame of the eternal flame does not die out, in which there is that image of the constantly reviving Phoenix.

In all eyes what a fire,

Where are you looking, proud Horse.

You probably noticed how the fortress wall accompanied you along the entire route of your walk along the square. Boris Godunov called this miracle of fortification "an adornment of the Russian land." It still reminds residents and visitors of the city of its military fate and, despite its lost initial function, the wall is a real symbol of Smolensk. Leaving the square, you will see a thoughtful sitting man. What he thinks is known only to him, but he does not step away from his brainchild. As you can already guess, this is the great Russian architect Fedor Kon , who is the father of the fortress wall. And next to it is one of the most famous surviving towers, the tower with the sonorous name of Thunder, which houses the Museum of Military History of the Russian Military Historical Society.

"You are on the right track, comrade"

“We built communism for 70 years, and then chose Pepsi,” but so far not a single square has been renamed in honor of a drink with the taste of capitalism, you have to sing “I just live on Lenin Street”. In which city of our country is there no street or square with the name of the leader of the world proletariat? Such a city as communism has not yet been built. Smolensk, too, in Soviet times did not escape this ideological mainstream. Going to the main square of the city, where the city administration is based, with a frozen call for something to expropriate and of course give the land to the peasants, there is a petrified Ilyich. In general, this work of mass art also stands in every city and is not surprising at all. However, this time he is looking really in the right direction. You are probably already hungry therefore, take the advice of the leader-guide and go towards Blonie Park . This is a cozy place where you can find shade on a hot day, photograph a maple leaf in the red-yellow autumn season and watch the snowfall in the cold winter days. The heart of the park can be called "Russian Court" (1B October Revolution Street) - An interestingly decorated place, with its cosiness and delicious menu. If this is the first place in Smolensk, where you decided to eat, then this pancake is clearly not going to be lumpy.

Auf Wiedersehen, Wilhelm

What is food without a good story? - This is just a trivial metabolism, devoid of any aesthetics. We will not take her nobleness from the meal and listen to what the park flora is whispering about. Noticing that you are listening, every tree in the park will want to tell you about one interesting representative of the local fauna. Many say that he is a foreigner and does not look like any representative of his kind. Someone will call him a German dissident. Only one thing is known for sure: he is clearly a favorite of local residents. And, however, his biography is well known to us. Back in 1910, Kaiser William II went on an august hunt and saw a surprisingly beautiful deer in his possessions. The Kaiser, although he had his own crown, laid to him by status, but even he admired the unusually beautiful horns of his future victim. The poor deer fell from the shot of the monarch, just as the empire of William himself would later fall. But, until World War I had yet arrived, the monarch ordered to recreate a copy of the beast from bronze, after which the traces of the ghostly deer were lost until 1944, when Soviet soldiers found him in the cottage at Goering. The year 1945 in the biography of our horned friend passed under the slogan “The soldier will not hurt the child,” and the deer calmly accepts on its side the inscription: “A gift from East Prussia to the children of Smolensk from the guards of the N-corps!” Since then, there has been the eighth dozen as he has a Smolensk residence permit and pleases not only local residents, but also our dear guests. Do not be William and click it with a photo gun. Have a good hunting!

"Backin USSR"

Now, let’s return to the Lenin monument, of course, as a signpost, it has already fulfilled its function, but it’s still useful for starting a new path, you can go from it in several interesting directions.

Lenin - Mushroom, or "and the smoke of the Fatherland is sweet and pleasant to us"

A few steps from Ilyich, there is an impressive building, built in the neoclassical style or in another way in the style of the "Stalinist Empire". The building was built in 1939 by the architect S.A. Ilyinsky and is a haven for the main theater of the Smolensk region, theater named after A. Griboedova. Get joy from the mind and visit our theater; the theater successfully hosts such performances as Gogol’s “Marriage”, Bulgakov’s “Heart of a Dog” and, of course, Griboedov’s “Woe from Wit”. If you are not in a hurry “to visit your aunt in Saratov”, spend your evening combining business with pleasure and watching the production of great Russian works.

Food nearby: Cafe "Buffet" (Przhevalsky St., 2), Malevich BAR (Przhevalsky, 3)

"And the city has a garden ..."

A place where tranquility and ease reigns, is also located near the monument to Lenin. Passing by the gymnasium named after the great Russian traveler Przhevalsky, you will see the entrance to Lopatinsky garden . It got its name thanks to the mayor Lopatin, whose monument is located here. In the park you can listen to street musicians, drink coffee if you are caught in bad weather, and also explore the whole city from the height of the updated Ferris wheel. If you are tired of being a pedestrian, you can cross into the water and rent a catamaran, where you can swim in the waters on the territory of the Lopatinsky Garden next to the aquavites of the local waters - ducks. As in any self-respecting park, there is everything that a tired traveler needs, and the local flora will shield you with its numerous branches from the adhering sun.

The Hill’s

And, again starting the route from the “zero kilometer” by the permanent leader, we walk along the alley along the buildings of classical architecture of modern times and go out to one of the main streets of the city of Bolshaya Sovetskaya. As you know, Smolensk, as the first and third Rome, is also located on seven hills, on one of the hills there is just the Big Soviet. On both sides of the road are the historical buildings of the city, and their facades are an adornment of Smolensk. Now in these buildings you can find a souvenir shop, cafe and other establishments that may be of interest to tourists. Going down Sovetskaya to the Holy Assumption Cathedral, you can settle in with several photos that will become decorations of your photo album. If we return to the theme of the seven hills, we can say that on each of the hills of the city you will have a wonderful view, where in the evenings you will hear the same monotonous - romantic voice of the station announcer who met you upon arrival in the city.

Food nearby: cafe "House 20" (Bolshaya Sovetskaya, 20)

 

Small to Large

Having descended to the end along Bolshaya Sovetskaya, it is impossible not to visit truly one of the main pearls of the city - Holy Assumption Cathedral . The scale of this architectural masterpiece shakes every human mind. The greats of this world, however, as not great, also could not remain indifferent to the spiritual center of the city. So the formidable Napoleon, visiting the cathedral, took off his cocked hat as a sign of respect, and later assigned guard to it to prevent robberies by his soldiers in the temple. Compliments to the cathedral do not end there. In the XX century, after Gagarin became the first person to visit outer space, other cosmonauts also followed him, among whom was Alexei Leonov - the Soviet cosmonaut number 11 and twice the hero of the Soviet Union, who, in addition to the orbit, also visited our cathedral. During the tour, the astronaut looked at the majestic iconostasis and called it “flight into space a thousand years ago.” Among the shrines of the main temple of Smolensk you can find the sandals of St. Mercury, as well as the central shrine of the city - the Smolensk icon of the Mother of God “Hodegetria”. The veneration of this icon goes far beyond the Smolensk region, and pilgrims come to its holiday not only from ours, but also from other countries. Cathedral Mountain can rightfully be called the center of the city for tourists, since it is impossible to visit Smolensk and not visit the Holy Assumption Cathedral.

"A rare bird ..."

For the second millennium, Smolensk has been sailing along the rivers of its history, but only a few years ago it found its pier and finally found the embankment . The Great Dnieper, to the middle of which only a rare bird can fly, is now decorated with a long promenade, which has become one of the favorite places for citizens and visitors. It is equipped with playgrounds, and its main attraction is the monument to Equal-to-the-Apostles Prince Vladimir - the Baptist of Russia. The Dnieper is the spiritual artery of our country, the source of Russian Christianity, therefore, the embankment has not only aesthetic and cultural value, but also has a deep spiritual meaning. If you think about which bird will master the middle of the Dnieper, you can call it an eagle bird.

The eagle, as you know, is a symbol of our state and this eagle has definitely overcome its middle, but do you know that the eagle is the heraldic symbol of the beloved disciple of the Savior - John the Theologian? The theological depth of his works is the subject of debate of a single generation of theologians, and their plot amazes even non-religious people. It is this eagle that hovers over the Dnieper in the city of Smolensk, because next to the embankment is an ancient temple of the 12th century - Church of the Apostle John the Theologian . This combination of past and present is a characteristic feature of our city, and you can become the intersection point of these times by visiting this beautiful place.

This concludes our walk in Smolensk, where, of course, we did not see all the sights worthy of your attention, but definitely saw those that talk about the past, present and future of our city. Let these memories leave a warm imprint in your heart, and you will visit our native Smolensk more than once!